How To Go To A Bar Alone & Not Feel Awkward
Whether you've had a long day at work, got a craving for a gin and tonic, or are in the mood to go out, but none of your friends are handy, there are plenty of reasons why you would go to a bar alone. It's a great place to make a dent in that one book that's been on your nightstand for the last five months, people watch other patrons, or just regroup and resettle your thoughts. But the tricky thing with this lovely scenario is, a lot of us are nervous to head out to get cocktails all on our lonesome.
And honestly, who could blame us? Not when there's a heavy stigma involved with a person that shows up anywhere without their usual entourage. Automatically, all eyes are on them and they're getting the stuffing judged out of them. Or so we think. Really, it's not even a little bit true, so it's high time to shake off those insecurities and self-conscious feels and just go and get that craft beer if the mood so strikes. However, I know as far as pep talks go, that one wasn't very informative, so here are seven actual tips on how to go to a bar alone and not feel awkward. Have a gin and tonic in my honor.
1. Primp Yourself Into Feeling Confident
You know how you kind of want to do a Beyonce strut when you have your favorite outfit on and your hair is on fleek? It's almost hard not to toss your hair after walking into the room, your body language being all, "Yeah, I know you want to say hi." So if you're about to go to a bar alone and aren't the most confident in that decision, make sure to primp yourself into feeling your very best.
Patti Stanger, Bravo's "Millionaire Matchmaker," told Elle, "Treat yourself to some real primp time so you look and feel sexy." Whether that means putting on your favorite cropped sweater and a swipe of chapstick, or putting on some killer heels and vampy lips, go for gold.
2. Walk In There Feeling Happy To Be Alone
If you're going to walk in the bar feeling apprehensive and 100 percent certain the night is going to be a flop, then that's the way it's going to go. Instead, prior to arriving at the bar get yourself happy about being alone. Do a couple of rituals that are going to make you feel all smiles and excited to mingle.
Stanger offered, "Take a little time before you head out to make sure you feel really positive. That might mean drinking a nice glass of PS: Match, watching a hilarious show, eating a piece of chocolate, or taking a nice bath." When you leave in a good mood, your whole night can go completely differently.
3. Be Choosy With The Bar You Go To
Now, let's talk location. If you're feeling intimidated, then you probably shouldn't roll up to a place that feels eons above you. If you like craft cocktails and women who tote Louis Vuitton bags, then by all means, go to that five star bar. But if you want something little more "beginner's level," choose a place that has a cozy, relaxing vibe, filled with people you could potentially find interesting and click with.
And don't feel bad if you pop into a place and feel like it's all wrong. You can always leave, with no shame. Career writer Claire Bertin Lang at career development site Levo offered, "If there are people there who you might feel uncomfortable talking to, do not feel pressured to stay. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder every few minutes while trying to unwind with your drink." Just grab your bag and try again.
4. Sitting At The Bar Is Less Intimidating Than Sitting At The Table
What feels less in the spotlight: Being led to a table for one, or just cozying up with other singles or small groups at the bar? Exactly.
On top of that, you also have the bonus of getting to chat with the bartender if you have a spot at the bar. They're all usually chatty and friendly, so it'll be an easy way to get your feet wet chatting and not just sitting there self-consciously.
Lang encouraged, "Bartenders are very aware of their customers needs and chances are that if you are on your own, your bartender will keep an eye on you. Try to get his or her name at the beginning, be polite and don’t forget to tip (a few dollars on each round is sufficient)." The moment you sit down, shrug off your coat, say hello and exchange names, and begin your idle small talk. Who knows, they might even introduce you to another single-drinking person by you.
5. Scout Out A Small Retreat Area
Once you get to the actual bar and have your drink in hand, take a moment to peek around and find your small retreat place. If things get a little too overwhelming for you or you just need a breather, this will be the place you go to to take a small break. Lifestyle writer Eric Ravenscraft at Lifehack explained, "When you first arrive, scout out a place that you can retreat to if you need a moment. It can be a patio, a kitchen, a bathroom, or even just your car." Once you take a second to recollect your thoughts and get back into the solo limelight, you'll feel a lot better.
6. Choose Your Activity Wisely
If you're going alone to a bar, chances are you'll want to have something to keep yourself occupied. And if you do, try to bring stuff along that could act as potential ice breakers.
Lifestyle writer Jessie Rose from Thought Catalog suggested, "Engage in some form of banal activity that prompts curiosity but not intimidation. So — yes to notes for the fun, freelance article you’re writing, no to notes for the miserable, required CPA exam you’re taking. Your move is to be casually reading and jotting things down while maintaining a look of coy openness to the question, 'Hey, what’s that you’re working on?'" Another great one is to bring a book along a lot people have read. Think about it: If you saw the guy sitting next to you reading Harry Potter, chances are you'd totally interrupt the chapter to talk about his superior tastes in literature.
7. Chat Up The People Around You
Obviously the whole point of going to a bar isn't just to meet people, but if at some point and time you'd like to chat with someone but don't know where to start, I have your back. All you need is to start with an ice breaker that's relevant to your location so it doesn't feel to pick-up-y.
Lifestyle writer Karyn Polewaczyk from xoJane explained, "Find a common point of interest — if you’re at an art gallery, start with a, “What do you think of this piece?” — type question — that keeps the event glued together. Some people will take the bait; some won’t. And if they don’t, it’s probably not personal — just keep it moving." Anther great one is leaning over and asking, "What kind of beer do you think I should get? Which one are you drinking?" Aaand you're in. If they're in a friendly mood they'll pick up the threads of the conversation, and you have yourself your first friend.
So go young grasshopper. Go enjoy that bar life all solo cup like. You're ready.